An electro-organic album of evolved dance music inspired by seminal cyberpunk works.
** NEWS **
Update #4: All backers at $20+ will receive a zircon bumper sticker (or multiple stickers, depending on pledge level) for free :D
Update #3: Pro mastering! I'll be working closely with a world-class mastering engineer to make 'Identity Sequence' sound as amazing as possible on any sound system, from iPod earbuds to cars, computer speakers, and home theaters.
Update #1-2: All $30+ backers will now receive a free zircon t-shirt. $20+ backers will get a discount for the shirt! I'll also be producing a 'behind-the-scenes' / documentary video showing what went into the album and everything leading up to it, which will be released for FREE.
Identity Sequence: An Album Five Years in the Making
Two people exist alone, isolated in an era where everything and everyone is networked and digitally connected. The shackles of physical forms have been almost entirely abandoned. Yet despite this wondrous, highly-technological world, they long for a different existence and the warmth of human connection. Through an abstract, interpretive narrative, this album cronicles a journey of self-discovery, development, and philosophy as two fates intertwine.
Identity Sequence is the culmination of a five-year musical endeavor. Countless sessions of writing, producing and mixing dozens, if not hundreds, of sketches and ideas, whittled down and culled into my very best work. To say this has been a labor of love would be an understatement. Since I started working on this album, I've moved three times, graduated from college, got married, scored three major video games, traveled abroad, and innumerable other life events. Through it all, this collection of songs and instrumentals has gradually taken shape, developed and nearly come to fruition.
The style of Identity Sequence could best be described as organic electronic dance music. It is my own interpretation of the interaction between man, machine, and environment - how our emotions and actions change and shift through technological advancement, and how they stay the same. More specifically, it's progressive trance, dubstep, drum and bass, breakbeat, atmospheric downtempo, and many other highly rhythmic electronic subgenres rolled into a cohesive body of songs that is meant to be listened to from beginning to end in a single session.
Though I've been the writer, producer and engineer on every one of the album's 14 tracks, Identity Sequence features numerous other performers who lend to its breadth and diversity. These include Jillian Aversa, the co-writer, vocalist and lyricist for many of the albums vocal tracks, Chris Gordon (malevocals & acoustic guitar), Juan Medrano (electric guitar), Jeff Ball (violin & viola), Dan O'Neill (alto soloist), and even a full choir - the Philadelphia Men's Chorale. Visual artist Jessie Lam created the beautiful album artwork, along with a set of standalone pieces inspired by the imagery of the album. These will be available in a custom, hardcover bound photobook (more on that below!)
My goal with this album is to truly create a world, or even a universe, that envelopes the listener and transports them away from our reality. Though certainly danceable, this is not music designed for a quick listen on the dancefloor and forgotten, but songs that I hope will have a lasting impact, staying relevant for years and holding a place in the listener's collection of music... even as electronic music trends come and go. Though I can't know if I will have been successful until Identity Sequence has been out for years, I hope that the musical preview in the video above gives you an impression of the sense of depth I strived to achieve with each and every track.
What was the inspiration?
As most artists will tell you, inspirations can often be too numerous to name; but for this album, I think there are some that really resonated with me. From a musical standpoint, electronic artists like BT, Hybrid, Prodigy, Pendulum and The Crystal Method have all influenced my style of writing and production, as well as relative newcomers like Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Wolfgang Gartner. However, you'll also hear influences from other genres and styles, such as anime/game composer Yoko Kanno, fusion jazz bands Weather Report and Dimension, and soundtracks like Phantasy Star Online that have been a part of my musical identity for many years.
Identity Sequence is more than just a collection of musical inspiration; as the title of the Kickstarter suggests, the 'story', feel, and atmosphere of the album have all been influenced by specific sci-fi (cyberpunk) works. In particular, the landmark anime Ghost in the Shell, specifically the Stand Alone Complex series, made an enormous impact on me when I first saw it not long before starting on the album. I found its exploration of humanity, philosophy and technology to be profound, and presented in a truly gripping way. As you will hear in the lyrics, the progression of the album is in many ways parallel to the overarching story of Stand Alone Complex.
Who is zircon?
'zircon' is the alias I've been using since 2003 for my original electronic music and video game remixes. Many people know me through my 30+ ReMixes on OverClocked ReMix, but I've also independently released nine original albums to date. I've had the good fortune to compose and arrange scores for video games such as Soulcalibur V, Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, and Monkey Island 2: Special Edition, while music from albums like Antigravity (2007) has been featured on shows including Heroes, Chopped, Skins and Touch.
Even though it's challenging to be an independent musician and make a living, what gives me perhaps the most satisfaction is giving back to the community and my fans. I've written and edited a variety of guides and YouTube videos on various aspects of music writing, production and business, and participate in communities like OC ReMix and Reddit's /r/WeAreTheMusicMakers as a moderator.
How will the album be available?
Once the physical disc has been manufactured and sent to distributors like CD Baby and Amazon, it will be released for sale on all platforms: iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon MP3, Spotify, Rhapsody, Napster, YouTube, and my own website, to name a few. Since I'm not tied to a record label, I can offer Identity Sequence in tons of formats all over the world, from digital downloads, to physical, streaming, and beyond!
I've already invested my own time and money into producing the music and commissioning the art of Identity Sequence, but I don't have the resources to fund physical production myself. Through this Kickstarter project, you can help raise money to produce an unforgettable physical package and, based on your pledge amount, receive lots of awesome perks in the process.
What is the money for?
I've gone through the physical CD manufacturing and distribution process a number of times in my career, so I'm very familiar with the costs. Every dollar of the goal amount will go to the following:
- High-quality disc replication (not CD-R burning or duplication)
- Full-color silkscreen printing
- Full-color, photo-quality, 8-page liner note booklet
- Beautiful 11x17 posters featuring album art
- Hardcover, bound photo art book featuring album art, additional commissioned pieces inspired by the album, sketches, lyrics, and additional liner notes
- Shipping & handling to distributors like CD Baby/Amazon
- S&H to Kickstarter backers
- Kickstarter/Amazon fees
When is Identity Sequence coming out?
The 'do-or-die' goal release date is early December 2012. This means the art and music will all be complete no later than early November, to allow ample time for production, proofing, etc. The digital release may precede the physical release, simply because the process of getting CDs warehoused & shipped can be slow.
Thank you in advance for your support!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
With any CD release, there are minor issues that can pop up after the music is done. Digital distributors like iTunes can lag in getting the music on their site, typos or audio errors can cause an album to go through approval again, and so forth. On the physical end, proofing can take a little while, particularly if the manufacturer doesn't properly reproduce the album art for the first time. Random weather and holidays can delay shipping, too.
However, all things considered, these problems are fairly trivial and easy to deal with. Identity Sequence will be my tenth album, so I've gone through this process many times before and know how to avoid the pitfalls, and deal with issues properly when they crop up!
I will ship CDs, posters and artbooks anywhere, and all physical reward levels have shipping included - no matter where you live!